In two successive votes today, the Massachusetts legislature voted today to advance a measure “backing a proposed ballot initiative that could ban gay marriage.“
The proposed amendment, which would define marriage as between one man and one woman and ban future gay marriages, still needs approval of the next legislative session before it can go onto the ballot.
Those opposed to the ban include Massachusetts Governor-elect Deval Patrick, “fought all day to hold off the vote.”
It’s amazing how some people are so eager to prevent debate on this very important topic.
As I’ve said before, I think a referendum in Massachusetts would be a good thing. First, it would get people talking about gay marriage, giving advocates a chance to make clear why they believe marriage is good for gay people. Second, should this referendum be defeated (as Bay State polls indicate), it would provide momentum for gay marriage.
If Massachusetts voters reject this referendum (limiting the definition of marriage), advocates could show that, in the first (and only) state which recognized gay marriage, there was no popular backlash against the court’s decision.
I have long believed that the people of the several states — and their elected legislators — should decide whether or not to change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. In the Bay State, where there seems to be significant popular support for such a change, a referendum would give gay marriage considerable legitimacy. And help keep the issue of same-sex relationships at the forefront of the national conversation.